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He first made us, and from time to time doth daily nourish us. He doth set all things in order in his family; he it is, that doth call every man to that office, state, order, degree, and kind of living, in the which it pleaseth him to set them. He will give to every man the thing which he hath need of, so that we with all our hearts obey him. Wherefore there is no cause why thou shouldest covet thy neighbour's goods, or by any subtle con veyance get them into thy hands. For this thing wanteth the blessing of God, yea, it deserveth his curse and malediction: for Scripture saith, "Cursed is he that doth not abide in all things that be written in the law."
And now ye have heard, good children, a plain, brief, and true exposition of the Tenth Commandment, the which, although it be last in number, yet I pray you let it not have the last place in your memory, but one of the first and chief seats of the same; that as soon as you be demanded this question, How understand you the Tenth Commandment? you may be prompt and ready to an swer, We ought to fear and love our Lord God above all things, and for his sake willingly to abstain from our neighbour's wife, family, goods, and cattle, and to help him (as much as lieth in us), that he may reap and possess the same..
KING EDWARD THE SIXTH'S CATECHISM.
Master. Now remaineth the last Commandment, of not coveting any thing that is our neighbour's: what meaneth that?
Scholar. This law doth generally forbid all sorts of evil lusts; and commandeth us to bridle and restrain all greedy unsatiable desire of our will, which holdeth not itself within the bounds of right reason: and it willeth that each man be content with his estate. But whosoever coveteth more than right, with the loss of his neighbour, and wrong to another; he breaketh and bitterly looseth the bond of charity and fellowship among men. Yea, and upon him (unless he amend) the Lord God, the most stern revenger of the breaking of his law, shall execute most grievous punishment. On the other side, he that liveth according to the rule of these laws, shall find both praise and bliss; and God also his merciful and bountiful good Lord.
Master. Now remaineth the last Command
Scholar. "Thou shalt not covet," &c.
Mast. Seeing, as thou hast oft said already,. the whole law is spiritual, and ordained not only
to restrain outward evil doings, but also to bridle the inward affections of the heart; what is there herein commanded more than was before omitted?
Scho. God hath before forbidden evil doings and corrupt affections of the mind; but now he requireth of us a most precise pureness, that we suffer not any desire, be it never so light, nor any thought, be it never so small, in any wise swerving from right, once to creep into our heart.
Mast. How then? Dost thou say that unad
vised and sudden desires, and short thoughts that come upon the very godly, are sins, although they strive against such, rather than yield to them?
Scho. Surely it is plain that all corrupt thoughts, although our consent be not added to them, do proceed of our corrupt nature. And it is no doubt that sudden desires that tempt the hearts of men, although they prevail not so far as to win a steadfast assent of mind and allowance, are in this Commandment condemned by God as sins. For it is meet that even in our very hearts and minds should shine before God their most perfect pureness and cleanness. For no innocency and righteousness but the most perfect can please him, whereof he hath also set before us this his law a most perfect rule.
REFORMATIO LEGUM, &c.
Of a Community of Goods and Wives. Chap. 14. To be rejected also is the idea introduced by the same Anabaptists, of a community of goods and possessions, which they urge to such a length, that they leave nothing to any individual as his own peculiar property. With regard to which notion they argue strangely, for they cannot but observe that the Holy Scriptures prohibit theft, and see that such alms-deeds are extolled in both Testaments as can only be exercised out of our own means, of which, truly, nothing would remain, unless there were left to Christians a property in their goods and possessions. From the corruptions of the Anabaptists arise certain Nicolaitans, most profligate men indeed, who contend that the promiscuous use of women, and even of wives, ought to be allowed among all men. Which beastly and wicked libertinism, in the first place, is contrary to piety and the sacred Scriptures, and in the second, violently opposes the general principle of civil justice, and the natural and uncorrupted light of reason which is kindled in our minds.
One principal part of our duty towards God is Prayer. This obligation, though not expressly specified in either, is necessarily implied in each of the Four Precepts, which instruct us in the several branches of the fundamental, the First and Great Commandment of the Law; but it is, perhaps, most directly to be inferred from that portion, which teaches us to worship the one true God in spirit and in truth.
§ 2. Prayer is, in its widest sense, religious communication with the Deity-address of the heart, and mind, and soul, as well as of the lips, to Him, who, though invisible, seeth the devout bendings of his people, and heareth all such as call upon him faithfully. In this sense it comprehends all kinds of adoration,-whether Petition, or Prayer, for future gifts and graces, according to its more restricted meaning,―Thanksgiving, grateful acknowledgement